31 December 2018

388 CCT Volunteer Stories in 2018

Many thanks to all of you that have typed words and taken a few pictures, all your contributions have been really appreciated.

Our volunteers do so much and there are still projects going on that have not been mentioned.  It all goes a long way to provide up to date information between the groups and also to our armchair volunteers not able to get out and help for one reason or another.

Please keep the stories coming in 2019.  There are going to be some changes in CCT's web based activities, but whatever happens, I'd like this platform to continue.

Happy new year to you all,
Peter A.

29 December 2018

Dock Lock Blogged by Severn Trent
(Phase 1B)

Take a wander round their work site recorded during June this year.  Severn Trent have captured their community activities and uploaded it to Google Earth.  Follow the link below and relive a moment in our very hot summer as they upgrade our towpath.

Severn Trent Water Working Party

Also, images have been updated around the area and you can see our dredger Patricia in the yard at Western Depot.

28 December 2018

A Grand Day Out
(Phase 1B)

by: Bob H.

I’m sure that most, if not all, CCT volunteers have heard of the Waterways Recovery Group or WRG.  But I wonder how many have joined in their activities at a work camp or a work party?

I confess that though I’d spoken to them quite a few times, I’d never joined them to work.   I had recently completed a chainsaw refresher course (A 5 yearly requirement by the CCT insurers). So, I decided that a day out doing more varied chainsaw work than our normal “routine” work (which I do relatively little of these days) would be a good thing. So today I joined a WRG group about 40 strong, on a continuing tidying up of the 1b section West of the A38.
I met here with Nigel, their CSO leader and soon we were underway trimming limbs and stems overhanging the Canal. We were careful not to remove any Ivy covered trees, we don’t want to disturb hibernating bats!

Ropes were attached

Fires stoked

Team tea breaks and lunch are taken seriously! 

Workboat Stuart provides access when we can’t reach safely from the bank 

And the end result reveals a full width Canal again

After such a Grand day out, I would recommend all volunteers, whatever your skills,  to spend time with such a bunch of folk.
Blast from the Past 3

by: Bob Hallam

You may think, that when in 2018 SVCC sent the Boat Acquisition Team  (AKA BAT Squad) to Etruria to re-float the £5 workboat “Flea,” that that was our first attempt at such a venture.
Not a bit of it!

A short history lesson. During the 1970’s and ‘80’s, a number of work-flats were built by Trust members, with Tony Jones and Richard Attwood amongst others, plying their trade beneath the Railway Arches at Wallbridge. 

After sterling service, one of these work-flats ended up abandoned at Arundel Aqueduct when the Canal was infilled to build the Stroud Eastern bypass known as Dr. Newtons Way.
In 2011 (Feb 9th to be precise) a Western Depot Work Party under the self-same Richard Attwood, were asked to clear up a bit around Arundel, the rubbish tip was shortly to become the new route of the Canal!

We uncovered the long-abandoned work-flat, but a tree had grown right through the deck anchoring it to the bank! An valiant attempt was made to re-float and restore the flat, but we were beaten by rotten timbers and lack of a crane.
LtoR Richard Tanner Richard Attwood Brian Ward Ellison Mike Langford
Unable to free the work flat

Some time later, the contractor digging the new canal route must have lifted it. It was, and maybe still, on the bank towpath side, where the canal again passes over Arundel Aqueduct.   

23 December 2018

Blast from the Past 2

by: Bob H.

Not all our jobs are on sections 1A or 1B

In 2011, a milestone at St Mary’s at Chalford had been pushed over by a large Hawthorn tree root. After being heaved out – all manually achieved, the offending root was carefully cut off and the stone taken to F.J. Cambridge a very friendly Monumental Mason, in Gloucester. 

Since it was a clean and little damaged break, it was literally glued back together with a stainless steel “safety pin” inserted into the centre for security.

The pictures tell the story!
 Richard Tanner looking for the stump
 Mike Langford found the stump
  The stump ready to lift out.
 Mike Langford Cutting tree root out
 Here it is ready to go
Lionel Lusty - The gnome of St Marys Milestone
 Milestone bottom section
 David Cambridge Ponders the repair
 Dennis Cambridge and The safety pin
LtoR Dennis, David and Mark Cambridge 3 generations
Arriving at Site

Colin Parsons is Pleased with the result
 Back in place

22 December 2018

Blast from the Past 1

by: Richard A

Santa at Wallbridge 1989.
This could be the real Santa or it could be someone else..........
Piling at Blunder Lock in the late 80's.
Blunder Lock and workshop 1992.
The Cotswold Canals Canamble 1991. 
Over 90 people took part in this section of the four stage walk from Saul to Lechlade. (now, that's a great community engagement idea - Ed)

Cheers Richard A

21 December 2018

Summit Working Party Report - a bit late!

by: Peter A.

Whilst searching for an old photo, the images below were stumbled across.  It was, according to the file dates, about 10th October 2004 and the ambition was to recover a sunken boat from inside the eastern portal of Sapperton Tunnel.  The rain and roof drips had filled the boat and the inevitable happened.  At least it was chained up to the wall, so we knew exactly where it was.
I had arrived on spec' not being a regular volunteer of the day and things were going on.  Having something that resembled work gear, I crashed the w/p and lent a hand.  

The trip boat of the day and an inflatable had to be used to reach the boat as there was a good water level in the cut.  If you look at the above picture, the sunken boat is visible as it just cuts the surface in front of the trip boat. Once emptied out, it was winched up onto the bank.
Now, not knowing anyone at the time - can the party be identified?  I'm pretty sure more than one of you were at the Western Depot dinner yesterday.  

Update.  Thanks to Richard & Bob, we have:
From left to right in the last picture
A chap from the east end whose name I have forgot.
Pete Easto - WD volunteer now re-retired.
Rick Muir
Dennis Clarke
Graham Best - WD volunteer now re-retired.
The late great Roger Wells. (Our very own Bob H. did his funeral)

It is pleasing to report that everyone survived and had dry socks, despite the PPE not being quite up to present day standards!

It is quiet times for activity over the Christmas/New Year break.  So, if anyone has a similar blast from the past and would like share it, please send it in and help stir the old grey matter.

20 December 2018

Western Depot @ Egypt Mills

Today was the works festive dinner which Di & Ron expertly orchestrated at Egypt Mills.  About 100 of us assembled for the occasion.  A barrel of Stroud Brewery's fine Budding ale had been donated and was on free tap. - many thanks Greg.

It all kicked off at about 11 o'clock and ran through past 4pm.  A great social event, one which was enjoyed by all, including volunteers from outside WD and members of staff.  

On completion of the main meal, a plethora of generously donated prizes for the raffle were collected by the lucky winners.  A number of after dinner 'speeches' preceded mince pies and coffee.  Bob Ambury spoke passionately about the comradeship of the folk at Western Depot and the need for us all to work together in the up and coming delivery of Phase 1B, a massive project in the restoration of our canal.

Following on, Bob H. then introduced the initial award ceremony for the 'Patricia' Trophy to mark the most significant trials & tribulations experienced in delivering a project.  Bob A. and his team won that for all the hard work at Ham Mill, which has concluded on a high, but has endured its much darker moments in the past.  To round up, Dave Marshall concluded the session with his festive SNC hat in place
Below are some images from the day.  If you are slightly blurred, then you must have been chatting!  Light levels were quite low in places resulting in long exposure times.

Merry Christmas to all our readers

by: Myron
The Boat Team finished the year off in fine form on Wednesday, fielding 3 boats, which has regularly happened this year.

Weedie needed to get out of Wallbridge pound as the level was due to be lowered for maintenance on the overflow weir at Bowbridge.  Nick and Rob took the opportunity for some tidying up.  Incidentally, the new mesh belt for Weedie has been ordered, so that will be quite a big project in early 2019.

Tony took a crew of 3 trainees down to Harpers field to fetch Delilah.  They got her as far as Ryeford.  Delilah will be used early in the New Year when test holes are due to be drilled in the weak wall at Dudbridge Lower.  It will then be moved up to join Samson, where it will be fitted with a crane.

I took Margaret out with Steve to do some hopper training and we are both delighted that I’m able to sign him off with his Margaret with hoppers endorsement.  Margaret is still having trouble with a coolant leak – somewhere, we just can’t find it.

2018 was an exciting year for the Boat Team and it looks like 2019 will get off to an exciting start.

And a Happy New Year

Ham Mill - Weds Dec 19th

by: Andy P.

The 3 of us started the day by writing a plan on the white board. Mmmm. Lots to do then.

First job remove all the Haras fencing and blocks from the yard.
Move all the wood stakes and other bits.  Lots of bits were moved.
Create a nice big clear area by the amenity cabin so the large gate posts can be refitted.
Take down and store the Haras fencing from the tow path area around the now filled in trench where the bypass pipe has been laid.

Charge the drill and gather, drill bits, screws, hammers, disc cutter, water, wheel barrows, crowbars and go into the bungalow to fit the small metal fence.  The concrete blocks were cut and the 4 metal panels screwed in place and then lifted into position.  The blocks were bedded into the ground.  Will arrived with the new pieces of handrail which were then screwed into the tops of the panels.  A nice job and the owner was highly delighted.  The pet crocodile seemed happy as well.
Digger Duncan on SBD levelled off a heap of rubble in the yard area, as it to put it mildly, it was a complete muddy and soggy mess.
He then levelled the ground behind the spill weir and set about clearing and levelling the muddy, sticky, gooey ‘soil’
Dumper loads were taken away as the levels were reduced as Bob raced to finish before night fall
A levelling sort of day.

Sometimes in life strange things happen.  I was clearing all the tools etc away at the bungalow and walking away with loaded arms.  As I have done for many years, you put one foot in front of the other and you move.  I tried this traditional approach and realised I was rooted to the spot unable to move. Odd, very odd.
Looking behind I saw Dino the big fearsome dog, had crept up and had a firm hold of both trouser leg bottoms. A dog with a sense of humour.  A piece of 2 x2 timber sorted the problem. Good job I was not wearing skinny jeans. Fun days on the canal.

Our last day for 2018 so a Merry Christmas and a happy canal new year from all the Ham Millers. 

19 December 2018

Project 'DNF' - No.5 Re-fit

A large cavernous void is probably the best way to describe the engine bay of No.5.  All that remained were the two disused fuel tanks, either side, to unbolt and inspect.  But, before that, we had a small issue with the old engine which was deposited behind the dredger late on Monday evening in the dark.

We had forgotten to cover the engine with the tarp's sitting besides it and you know how much water fell from the sky during Tuesday.  There was water in places which really should never see water, so we decided the best course of action given that we wished not to trash the engine, was to suck out as much water as possible and then remove the injectors so that the cylinders could be blasted clear when the engine was cranked.

The first stage of cranking was followed by a WD40 flush out and then an oil flush out, lastly giving each pot a shot of oil and replacing the injectors.
Further plumbing bits and pieces were removed and at the same time we set about pumping out the oil water mix that sat at a significant depth in the bilge.  An old water butt was filled with the mix and allowed to settle.  The water could be dropped off, so it served as a half reasonable separator.  There is still more to do here before a serious bilge clean takes place.
Getting back to the voluminous diesel tanks.  Once unbolted and lifted out, the port side one with the small inspection hatch was inspected.  Just a thin layer of sludge sat in the bottom.   Both have a large flanged top with numerous fixing bolts.  In the new year, these need to come out and both tanks given a thorough clean and made ready for reuse.  One good diesel fill should last 6 months or so!  We'll dispense with the old plastic lorry fuel tank.
There is plenty to do before the new engine arrives, so please come along and lend a hand if you can.  Many thanks to all the team today.  We achieved quite a lot.

Mon Dec 17th
by: Andy P.
Wow what a day.  Very frosty but 10 people on site with standing room only.
A very early morning 2 tonne delivery of 12 sheet piles was the first job.  Slide them of the back was the cry.  They never budged a mm.  Oh. So slightly bigger digger (SBD), back on hire for the day, fired up and swiftly lifted them into a neat pile to await their next move across the canal.

Leader Bob , on SBD, set about digging out a 10 m long and 2 m deep trench to fit in another 6m section of bypass pipe.  Digger Duncan, on temporary loan to the dumper, moved the soil away to the offside of the canal where Ron on big digger (BD) fed Jason on mini digger(MD), who shifted soil to the slope.  Monday Maurice, Mathew and Julian spent all day shovelling, raking, digging and moving soil.  Back breaking but logistical symmetry in motion.  Slope now ready for planting with the trees set aside.  Steve had brought the MD from WD and stayed all day and was a great help.

The 6m pipe and collar were lowered and pushed into place by SBD.  Trench depth being controlled by calibration Kay using the precision measuring device. SBD became confused with the 4 different bottoms on its seat as the trench box was lifted, widened and reluctantly refitted at the end of the new pipe section. Several hand diggers then dug down to find the pipe and the end joint ready for another section.
2 mini disasters did occur however.  Due to the quantities of tea being made, the generator ran out of diesel and we ran out of tea bags.  Rose, whose garden we were fixing, gave us mince pies and some wine to share for all the work we had been doing.  Thank you.  The wine being donated to the Xmas raffle. 

In the garden we moved and levelled more soil, levelled and refitted the heavy concrete table and chairs, moved the washing machine (don’t ask), mangle, scales and replaced the many pots and cherubs.  The broken otter was taken away for suitable burial.
SBD worked well into darkness to back fill the hole and restore some semblance of order back to the site. 
What a day.